Binghamton University

05/29/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/29/2024 13:37

Libraries amplify undergraduate student research

The Binghamton University Libraries completed the first year of the Libraries Research Scholars Program during the final week of the spring 2024 semester. On May 2, the Libraries hosted the first Research Scholars Poster Presentation in the Glenn G. Bartle Library lobby to mark the conclusion of the inaugural semester of the program.

"The students who participated in this inaugural program were truly outstanding," Dean of Libraries Andrea Falcone said. "During their final presentations many commented that through this learning experience, they discovered that research is a winding path and one cannot predict the steps on the journey. We have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Providing learning opportunities like this is the mission of libraries, and I'm proud of our student scholars and mentors for taking this important journey together."

This opportunity provided experiences working on a guided research project within the Libraries. Each project, designed to be library-related, helped undergraduate students strengthen their research skills and provided the opportunity to build upon personal research interests.

"All the projects were different, but they were all tied to the library and Library Science, and library theory and library practice," said Matthew Harrick, subject librarian and program lead for the Libraries Research Scholars Program. "But I think this is unique because it's all library, all the time. The students are working with library faculty and staff who work in libraries, who are thinking about our campus libraries or collaborations with other libraries or librarians in the area. Overall, they're thinking about how to make library systems and programming better and more inclusive."

Libraries research scholar Anindya Debnath shares his research poster with Health Sciences Librarian Laura Lipke. Image Credit: Bryan Field.
Libraries research scholar Anindya Debnath shares his research poster with Health Sciences Librarian Laura Lipke. Image Credit: Bryan Field.

As part of the program, each student researcher worked with a library faculty or professional staff mentor. The final research projects are published in the institutional repository, the Open Repository at Binghamton (The ORB), and each scholar was awarded $2,000 for their efforts. The program was funded by the President's Roadmap Strategic Priority 2 (SP2), which aims to help the University provide a transformative learning community that prepares students for advanced education, careers and purposeful living. SP2 supports high-impact learning experiences such as the new Library Research Scholars Program.

"The program itself is a high-impact practice: doing a research project," Harrick said. "However, to make the program a little more well-rounded and robust, we added some additional elements of High Impact Practices to increase its success. We had a presentation on culturally competent research, cohort meetings to connect with each other and their projects, and then we offered that our students participate in research days and our final poster presentation."

The research projects completed during the spring 2024 semester included:

* Understanding the experiences and needs of underrepresented students at the Binghamton University Libraries

* Unlocking Knowledge: Investigating Information Literacy Programs in Correctional Facilities

* Diversifying the Archival Record through Community Archiving

* Critical Reading in the Sciences

* Research Analysis for the Libraries' Instagram Platform

* Exploring bias and marginalized voices in the description and organization of collections

"I wanted to conduct some form of research before I graduated, so I was looking for some opportunity to do research that was catered toward non-STEM students," rising senior Natalie Pan said. "I stumbled upon the Library Research Scholars Program at the perfect time and felt like it was a great fit for my skill sets and interests. As a history and PPL major, I was drawn to the Diversifying the Archival Record through Community Archiving project because it involved looking at local histories, different local communities and interacting with other people."

Through the Libraries Research Scholars Program, the Libraries aim is to expand opportunities for all types of research and to have a positive impact on student's experience at Binghamton University.

"[The research project] also involved working with the Special Collections, which had been one of the coolest things I thought Binghamton had," Pan said. "I had gone there in the past for a class, and already found it super cool that the University had so many unique projects, books, documents and other archival materials. So the combination of getting to look into local histories and communities, plus special collections, drew me into this project specifically, and I feel like it lived up to what I had been looking for going into this program just because of the mental, academic stimulation and impact of my research."

To view the spring 2024 research projects, visit the Library Research Scholars collections on the Open Repository at Binghamton (the ORB).

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